for we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Cor 5:7, ESV)
as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor 4:18, ESV)
I remember taking a trip to the Black Canyon outside Montrose, Colorado one summer about 12 years ago.
There was one point where you stand out over a ledge (with railing, of course) and look down and across the expanse of the canyon. I remember that the canyon was so deep and the walls of the canyon so tall and flat that my brain couldn’t register just how large it was. Over and over I tried to get an estimate of just how vast the canyon before me really was, but it just wouldn’t compute.
I looked down at the Gunnison River in the bottom. I tried to get a size comparison by looking at a pinyon pine growing out of a crack in the side of the rock walls, but I still couldn’t register how large it really was. Oh, sure there was the sign telling me how deep it was. It even had a little graphic showing just how tall one of the famous skyscrapers were in comparison the canyon’s depth, but still nothing.
In other words, I had all of the information I needed for it to register in my brain just how magnificent the canyon was I was looking at. I had a vast amount of knowledge relating to the size of the canyon. I also believed and trusted the information wholeheartedly. Yet I still couldn’t make it work out in my head.
To this day it’s one of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever had….Staring across that canyon, at its enormity. Seeing it with my very own eyes, yet unable to understand.
There are some things that I know to be true about God. His love. His grace. His forgiveness. His patience. I know these things to be true. I experience them daily. Yet like my trip to the Black Canyon that summer, I can’t make them compute in my brain.
Just like that wall of the canyon that seemed so close I could almost reach out and touch it, yet was so vast in size and so far away that I couldn’t understand it, I guess that’s how I feel with God right now.
I’ve heard all of the cliché’s about how God works in us. How He breaks us so He can build us into the people He wants us to be. Frankly, I can’t hear another slogan right now. No matter how well-meaning it might be.
Our church search has hit a snag.
It’s been one year now that we’ve been searching. We’ve exhausted every possibility, yet still nothing. I know to pray without ceasing. I know not to give up. But one year is beginning to take its toll on my hope.
Looking back, there is little doubt that we were to leave our old church. It had simply gone too far off the deep end. There was no longer any teaching from the Bible at all. All of the messages were straight out of secular leadership books, melded with enough scripture to make them appear biblical.
I knew it would be difficult when we left. Yet somehow I was totally unprepared for what my family and I would experience. I know God never leaves us or forsakes us, even when we are dummies. I know that even when we’re “prodigal sons” He welcomes us back when we repent and run to Him. I know sometimes in His unknown purposes, He’s honing us on the rocks of adversity.
These things I “know”, Yet here we are. Looking at the canyon unable to make sense of it all. Unable, at times, to even comprehend what it is we’re even looking at.
I guess that’s where the scriptures at the beginning of this post come in. Sometimes, I guess, believing isn’t seeing.